There is always something extraordinary in a coincidence, especially when that leads to renewed acquaintance and a new career.
For Joanna, it was coincidence that she was introduced to Sansaw and, in particular, James Thompson – whom she taught while teaching at Abberley Hall!
“It was an extraordinary set of circumstances,” she says. “I had left Abberley teaching, where I was teaching children art, woodwork and DT, to pursue a solo career making furniture. I hadbased myself in Bala and was told that a family in Shropshire was in need of some carpentry. When I went to have a look at what was needed I recognised James straight away. In fact, when I saw his son William, at the table, it was like looking at James in the classroom all those years ago.”
“Parts of working for myself was fun,” Jo explains, “but it was incredibly solitary and I was more of an artist than a businessperson so when the chance came to join Sansaw’s maintenance team, I was keen to make the move.”
“I was living and working on my own so I craved working in a team and Sansaw has really enabled me to feel part of something greater. Everyone has accepted me and the variety at work is really rewarding.
“I’ve been at Sansaw since April 2016 and I can honestly say it was a great decision. Shropshire as a whole has been incredibly welcoming.”
The surroundings help, too.
“I’m an outdoors person for sure,” she smiles. “I love hikiing, walking, wild swimming and photography, so I’m fortunate to have such scenery on the doorstep.”
While the Himalayas have proved intoxicating (Jo plans to go again next year having visited Nepal twice already), she’s also aware of the beauty around her.
“Grinshill is fabulous and I love to go trailing up there. Walking round the estate is pretty cool, too, but if I have a bit more time at weekends I love exploring further afield!”
Jo’s day-to-day role sees her mucking in with everyday maintenance tasks – “everything from fixing windows to rodding drains to helping out on rooves”.
“I enjoy working with Gary when it comes to refurbishing the windows but I need to learn some more skills,” she adds. “Thankfully there’s lots of scope for that because there are always new challenges which we have to overcome.